As Royal Challengers Bangalore prepare to take the field on Monday against Kolkata Knight Riders amid the hullabaloo stirred by Virat Kohli's decision to step down as the captain, it is hard to ignore the match will see some big names of the game fighting for bragging rights.
Game 31 of IPL 2021 will be played at what is expected to be a two-paced surface at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, making it an even contest between the batsmen and bowlers and brings forth some interesting match-ups.
Virat Kohli vs Varun Chakravarthy
Varun Chakravarthy has been among the many IPL revelations who made a name themselves on their way to the Indian team. Since his debut, the Tamil Nadu mystery spinner has picked 25 wickets in 21 games since his debut in 2019. His stats have been effective against Virat Kohli as well, to whom he has bowled 18 balls, conceding mere 15 runs for a wicket.
De Villiers vs Sunil Narine
AB de Villiers has been an integral part of the IPL since its inception in 2008, playing every edition to amass 5076 runs, which includes 245 sixes, 406 fours, 40 half-centuries and 3 centuries. Such has been the prowess of De Villiers in the competition as he has tamed KKR's strike bowler Sunil Narine on several occasions in the competition. Striking at a rate of 149.23, De Villiers has scored 97 runs in 65 balls against the Trinidadian. However, it will be wrong to think there's no match-up between the duo as three of Narine deliveries sent the South African back to the dugout.
Virat Kohli vs Tim Southee
With Tim Southee returning to the IPL after a gap of two years, the New Zealand pacer will be playing for his fourth franchise in the league and will face his latest of the former side RCB (played in 2018 and 2019) on return if selected in the playing XI. Since his debut in IPL 2011, the 32-year-old veteran has taken 28 wickets in 40 matches. Among those 40 wickets, one was the prized scalp of Virat Kohli. Kohli though has been largely comfortable against the Kiwi pacer with 49 runs in 39 balls so far.